UN slams US police shooting of African American Jacob Blake

2020-08-29 17:05:21
UN slams US police shooting of African American Jacob Blake

The U.N. human rights office has condemned the shooting of African American man Jacob Blake white police and said the use of force was a violation of international law.

Riots broke out in the city of Kenosha in the U.S. state of Wisconsin in the wake of Sunday’s police shooting of Blake, which has left the 29-year-old African American man partially paralyzed.

U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the shooting as a painful reminder of the heightened risk black people face when engaging with law enforcement in the United States.

Agency spokesman Rupert Colville said the episode reaffirms the need for urgent action to eradicate links between structural racism and policing.

“From the images available that we have seen at this point, the police appears to use force against Jacob Blake that would seem to be excessive and it does not appear the law enforcement officers abided by the international standards of the intentional use of lethal force with a firearm,” Colville said.

A statement from the Kenosha police union said that based on officers’ inability to gain compliance and control from Blake after using verbal, physical and less lethal means, the officers drew their firearms.

Colville said it seems highly possible the force used against Blake could have been discriminatory in nature.

The human rights spokesman also said he was aghast at the presence of vigilantes at the protests in Kenosha that followed the police shooting of Blake. He said he found the killing of two people and injury of others by a 17-year-old gunman of particular concern.

The teen who took a rifle to the protest of Blake’s shooting told an online news site before going to the demonstration that it was his job “to protect people.” First-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide are among the criminal charges the young man is now facing.

“We would see this as yet another unfortunate example of the insufficient and lax gun control measures in the United States, which is something we have spoken about several times before," said Colville. "It should be inconceivable that you have a 17-year-old running around with an automatic rifle in a position to shoot people in this way in such a tense situation.”

Colville added the events of the past few days in Kenosha are not only recurrent, but preventable. He warned against the U.S. government sending federal troops into Kenosha to restore law and order. He said their presence would likely make things worse rather than better.

In a tweet Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the National Guard had successfully quelled violence and rioting in Kenosha.

Last month, Trump praised American police departments and downplayed police violence against Black people, saying “more white people” are killed by police officers.

According to a Washington Post analysis updated in July, half of people killed by police are white, but Black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population but are killed by police at over twice the rate of white Americans, the newspaper analysis found.

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